In the first half of October, Solaris Bus & Coach and Latvian capital city operator Rigas Satiksme signed an agreement for a delivery of 10 low-floor trolleybuses equipped with a fuel cell range extender. The new solution will enable operation of the trolleybuses on the sections of Riga public transport network without overhead wires. Trollino will be powered only by the energy stored in the batteries. The contract includes also an option for exceeding the order for further ten vehicles – new-generation Urbino 12 electric. Those battery-powered vehicles also are to be fitted with fuel cells. First trolleybus from the order is to roll onto Riga streets at the turn of 2017 and 2018.
The agreement which Solaris signed with Riga City Transport (Rigas Satiksme) on 11th October 2016 has been divided into two parts. The first concerns the delivery of ten 18,75-metre Trollino equipped with hydrogen fuel cell range extenders. This is an absolutely unique solution not only in Latvian public transportation, but also at European level. Each trolleybus designed for Riga is to be fitted with fuel cell as well as battery set which allows the vehicle to operate without traction energy supply even for 100 km. The innovative solution will be therefore used in the areas without overhead wires. Medcom traction motor will provide the power to drive the vehicle. High passenger capacity of the articulated Trollino will provide the capital of Latvia with the opportunity to use low-emission vehicles even on the most heavily used lines. According to the contract the first Trollino is to roll onto Riga streets at the turn of 2017 and 2018. The deliveries of remaining vehicles are scheduled for 2018.
“I am extremely proud that we will manufacture the first hydrogen-powered trolleybuses in Europe in cooperation with Rigas Satiksme, one our most faithful customers. We enjoy the trust of the company management invariably since 2003. A source of even greater joy is the fact that Rigas Satiksme decided to invest in the future with us. It has been reflected by the purchase of the pioneer in the world vehicles fitted with the hydrogen fuel cells, the technology which I believe may be the key to zero-emission public transport development”, Dr. Andreas Strecker, CEO of Solaris, stated.
“Solaris has been active in the development of alternative drives, not merely electric buses, but also vehicles equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. The contract we have just signed with the operator of Latvian capital city is another milestone on the road to considerably increase the number of hydrogen-powered buses in Europe. We very much appreciate the commitment shown by the customer who started to build up the appropriate infrastructure in the city and surely will be well prepared to put the trolleybuses into operation. Joint action as well as trust between partners are especially important in such pioneering projects”, said Dr.Eng. Dariusz Michalak, Deputy CEO of Solaris.
While the first 10 Trollino 18,75 are to be based on the construction of the third generation Urbino, the second part of the agreement concerns 10 Urbino 12 electric in the new design. If the operator exercises the option, Solaris will deliver the new-generation battery-powered buses equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. Rigas Satiksme will make the decision whether to buy further vehicles at a later date depending on availability of financial resources.
Solaris has more than 15 years’ experience in the construction of electrically-driven vehicles – trolleybuses, hybrid buses as well as battery-powered buses. Solaris has implemented the ultra-modern hydrogen technology for the first time in two Urbino 18.75 running in Hamburg. For almost two years, electric buses have been carrying Hochbahn passengers on the Innovative Line 109 operated only by alternative-energy drives. The Solaris Urbino 18.75 electric has been awarded the prestigious International busplaner Sustainability Prize 2015. The bus has also won the Fuel Cell Award 2016 in the product and market category.
Solaris has been present in Latvian market since 2001. From over 400 vehicles delivered, nearly 350 has been running in Riga. Trolleybuses make up almost one third of the total.